Gallery: TRANSPORTATION TUESDAY: Smart Car Hits US in 2008!

 

The Smart Car is coming to the United States! And very soon too. The little car that could, manufactured by Daimler, is expected to join the ranks of available subcompact vehicles in the US in 2008, and hopefully, convince more people that when personal transportation is concerned, bigger is most certainly not better. Early reservations for the US Smart Car have just started and already people are lining up to purchase this tiny energy efficient vehicle. The Smart Car is a tiny subcompact vehicle, only about 9 feet long and 5 feet wide. The 3-cylinder engine has fantastic fuel consumption, 42 miles per gallon, and has a top speed of 90 mph. And while it is tiny – one feels as though you can lift it yourself – it is, in fact, surprisingly roomy for something that size. Though granted, your main concern would likely be what happens in the event of a crash. According to the company, the Smart Car gets a 4 star-crash rating, surprisingly good for a vehicle of its size. The Smart Car will cost between $11,000 to $17,000. It is available in three different models, including a gorgeous little convertible.

The Smart Car joins a select number of subcompact vehicles in the US. And while the market for them is still quite tiny, we hope its stylish looks and fuel efficiency will win over those looking at getting larger and less fuel-efficient vehicles.

US reservations for the Smart Car have just started and already people are lining up to purchase this tiny energy efficient vehicle. If you want a piece of the Smart action, reserve yours today at Smart USA >

+ Smart USA

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24 Comments

  1. Chris February 26, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Some people don’t seem to understand the MPG rating scale- like the people that said this car gets the same mileage as a Civic or Sentra. There used to be different EPA testing standards that allowed automakers to kind of cheat on the tests. The civic hybrid really only gets about 34 highway MPG. The smart car gets a tested 42 or so MPG. New testing standards started in 2008. Thank you people who know nothing as usual opening their mouths. Go check one of these cars out. They really are pretty cool in person.

  2. Francesco January 14, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Spare tyres are not foreseen, very small trunk ( not a single bag can get in :) ), poor adherence to road. On the other hand, it is very useful in traffic jam, easy to park and “ForTwo” concept is very futuristic. Anyway, there are a lot of utility passenger cars in Europe doing much better at a lower price and with very low CO2 emissions (compared to heavy vehicles such as SUVs): see new Fiat Punto, new Pegeout 107 etc… Mercedes-Benz can do better than that.
    Francesco, Rome, Italy

  3. Lee December 24, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    The one incentive for me to buy this car would be if it meets NY State clean pass HOV lane requirements. I believe the threshold is 40mpg combined city/hwy. Currently only the Prius, Civic hybrid, & Honda Insight can be operated solo in the HOV lane (I commute 120miles round trip daily). I carpool now but would like to have the solo option available. If the Smart doesn’t meet the HOV threshold here or in California they will have missed a tremendous market opportunity, I only hope they don’t fall short or I’ll have to spend 10k more for a hybrid.

  4. John Wade December 20, 2007 at 2:34 am

    I had a ride in one last year and was suprised how noisy it was inside. Reminded me of an old Datsun 210 we had in 72′. Basically a tin box. They are not cheap to buy either. I live in Vancouver Canada and we seem to have a lot of them here though. I’ll stick to my motorbike.

  5. MARC December 15, 2007 at 11:16 am

    This car has been available for a while in Canada. It`s not rare to see one in the worst snow blizzards of Quebec…. as for mileage, the bluetek tdi VW will kick ass next year.

  6. Tim Martin December 15, 2007 at 3:34 am

    I already put my $99 down in October I can’t wait to be a new smart owner!!

  7. Nick Simpson December 14, 2007 at 2:06 pm
  8. Nick Simpson December 14, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    As I thought, the miles per gallon here are too low – look at this article:

    I know a few people that have had these and said they get brillinat mileage out of the rather small tank.

    I also know someone that has crashed, flipped the car on it’s roof and slid along the road – and then promptly stepped out of it unscathed. Don’t worry about this car in terms of safety…

  9. Bill December 14, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    I had high hopes for this car, but the milage should be much higher. My mini S gets nearly 40 mpg when driving on the highway and my 2000 VW TDI would get 40 with all city driving, 50 mpg on the highway. I like the price of the smart, but think that in the long run we shouldn’t be encouraging more people to drive or buy more cars, but looking at alternatives such as public transport, bikes, etc. to solve the problem.

  10. greg December 12, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    p.s.

    if the value of a smart car is as a “second car” we are in trouble. one car per household is bad enough…

  11. greg December 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    as many have pointed out, 42 mpg is nothing to scream about when there are multiple models of vehicle available now with real trunks, passenger space, and SUPERIOR mileage (diesel jettas, priusus, hybrid civics…). this will never sell well in the US unless its sub-sub-compact size is compensated for by REAL fuel efficiency or an electric engine.

    with defensive, slow driving, i get 35 mpg in my subaru impreza (combined city-highway) – and it’s a safe, heavy, all-wheel drive vehicle.

    there’s no substitute for a walk or a bike ride to the grocery store!

  12. anna December 12, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    my 93′ vw cabriolet gets 35 mpg on the highway, i would expect a smaller engine car, lighter car and much newer technology to do better than 42mpg

  13. giuseppe December 12, 2007 at 5:10 am

    I have one smart car and it´s the best car i have ever bought. think there is no other car better in a traffic jam and more economic. two passenger are enought in 90% of cases. It’s the perfect second car in US and europe. the only problem it’s people must open is mind.

  14. Adam December 11, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    I love the concept and would love to for everyone to drive one, but in SoCal, you would get crushed in these things by the ridiculous over-sized SUV and trucks that flood the roads and highways.

  15. Andrew Dryden December 11, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    It just seems like there was a great missed opportunity here, why not offer hybrid or electric versions. If the US is to embrace ‘smaller is better’, it needs all the help it can get, and gas mileage just seems like a no brainier. This just comes across as a novelty, no matter how great it looks.

  16. ToddF December 11, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    I’m kind of puzzled that something this small gets such crappy mileage. My ’03 VW Jetta TDI gets around 50mpg (95% highway miles) running on dino and biodiesel. The ’08 models coming out next fall supposedly get around 70mpg.

  17. Brad December 11, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    It’s just too bad they’re not offering the diesel version that Europe gets. Because 65mpg sure is a lot better than 40mpg! They were stupid not to offer the diesel. My Jetta TDI gets better mileage than the gasoline Smart and it carries 3 more people and has a large trunk. I do love the body style of the Smart though.

  18. GeorgeD December 11, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    As much as I would like to like this car, I don’t think it will have much of an impact in the US. Europeans have a different mindset than Americans on some things, and this will be one of them. I just don’t see it happening…and my guess is that it will be more of novelty than a revolution for commuting. As a few people have said, it only gets 42 mpg which is pretty low, and even though it may have a good crash test rating, what kind of rollover or stability rating does it have? A strong body doesn’t do me much good if I am rolling over and over down the street. I hope I’m wrong though, and please feel free to prove me wrong in the comments…. I love be schooled every once in a while…

  19. Jason December 11, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I’m really glad that we are getting the Smart Car. I am just a little disappointed about it’s gas mileage. My 02 Sentra gets 30 mpg in the city and up to 40 mpg on the highway.

  20. Dave December 11, 2007 at 10:56 am

    When I first saw these Smartcars in Europe a few years ago, I thought “wow, I need to have one of these.” And then when they finally make it to the US, the 70hp, 3-cyl engine only gets the mileage of… a civic? Sure, it’s cheaper and easier to parallel park, but…

    If I recall correctly, Consumer Reports rated an early version of this as “the worst car we’ve ever tested.” Oh well.

  21. Nick December 11, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Looks like a perfect summer car…Don’t think it would work to well in the middle of winter in Minnesota though.

  22. Ron Gaus December 11, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Most folks in the US have no clue what these little “smart cars” are like, but they’ve been in Europe and around the world since 1998. Over 850,000 sold. Designed by Swatch. Safety-engineered and performance-engineered by Mercedes, it was an unlikely marriage of modern style and proud history of auto manufacturing. Though these new smart cars will be sold in America in mass in 2008, their older brother has been with us about 16 months. In 2003, an auto converter became frustrated by Mercedes’ refusal to bring the smart car to the US since 1998. He went to the Department of Transportation and EPA and asked for permission to change the European models to meet US safety and emissions standards. After three years of work, he was granted that approval and began selling the Euro Design smart cars in April, 2006. Just two months later, Mercedes announced that they had changed their minds and would introduce an Americanized smart car in 2008. They will be distributed through Penske Automotive Group, not Mercedes. The 1000 converted models are now almost all on the streets across the country, but their selling prices are significantly higher than the 2008 models. Though the entry level smarts will be offered in 2008 at $11,590 according to their press releases, the currently available higher end converted smarts are at $26,900. The high cost of conversion, as well as the shipping and import costs from Europe forced this higher price.

    Still, the owners of these cars have all shared their common feedback… there is no car, at any price, that will attract the positive attention from passers-by, than the smart car. It is not the miles/gallon. It is certainly not the price. It is the unique style and design, so different from any car on the road, that makes this car magical. As magical as the only prior car in history to bring these smiles to this country… the fifties Beetle. The new ones in 2008 will share this attraction with their older, but littler brother. Converted smarts are 8′-3″. The new ones are 7″ longer. Current ones have Mercedes engines. New ones have Mitsubishi’s and are more powerful. The looks, however, will cause the same smiles. Get ready for this phenomenon, America. When you see one in person, you’ll understand. There is no way to understand it until then. Over 30,000 folks have put down $99 to get in line for the new smarts. To add your name to the list, go to http://www.smartUSA.com. Get ready to smile. Smart cars will change America, one smile at a time.

    Ron Gaus, aSmartCar.com

  23. Ryan December 11, 2007 at 8:02 am

    We’re going to have a dealership in town (Albany, NY) and I think they’re going to do very well. There’s already a lot of buzz for them.

  24. Alexander Gee December 11, 2007 at 7:07 am

    We have quite a lot of these in New Zealand unfortunately mostly used as tiny delivery vehicles and mobile ad space.

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